Kiss Me Kate




Fred Graham/Petruchio Joe Goodall Gangsters Norman Grinsteed Ralph, Stage Manageer Iain Fulton Director Sarah Orton
Lilli Vanessi/Katharine Helen Teasdale   Shane Wolfe Pop, Doorman Brian Lay Musical Director Richard Hare
Bill Calhoun/Lucentio Juan Miralles Harrison Howell Dave Beavis Gremio Steve Leitch Choreographer Christine Morris
Lois Lane/Bianca Jo Cullen Hattie Pam Akhurst Hortensio Kim Hill    
Harry Trevor/Baptista Brian Minchin Paul Peter Thomas     Photography Doug Spooner



Theo Spring 


What a great deal of hard work and dedication you all put into this production, and what a great success it was - truly professional.

First let me say how much I enjoyed the whole show, from the minute the curtain rose until it finally came down. Many congratulations to Sarah Orton whose direction gave us a really lively show, very well rehearsed, with everyone, from principal to each member of the chorus, giving their best.

It was good to see some new faces in the top roles and I must comment Joe Goodall for his interpretation and execution of Fred/Petruchio. I did not read his programme notes until the interval and was amazed to discover that he has not been on stage for thirty six years prior to 'Kate'. I had him down as currently experienced and sought-after by a variety of groups. If he hasn't been - he will be now!

He strutted his stuff with gusto as the cocky Petruchio, doing much justice to his vocal numbers. I particularly commend Where Is the Life That Once I Led because of it's fine choreography as well as its musical expertise. As Fred, he had less swagger and one could see Fred's vulnerability. Wunderbar was, well wunderbar!

To find two leading ladies of such ability was certainly a coup for WODS - each talented in their characterisations and each with a splendid voice. Helen Teasdale conveyed her 'attitude' from the moment she arrived at the theatre to rehearse, and we certainly got the full message as she took direction (so unwillingly) for her curtain call. Her dual roles required a similar delivery - with 'wheedling' being added to Lilli as she twisted Harrison round her little finger. So I Love Am I was charming and contrasted so with the virago who sang I Hate Men with such venom!

Jo Cullen took to the part of Lois like a duck to water. She has the voice, the comic timing and the ability to move that all came together so well in this show. Her interaction with Bill brought out lovely comedy and her interpretation of Bianca gave the Shrew's younger sister considerable pizzazz!

Out of a whole show of wonderfully presented numbers, I would pick Always True To You as my favourite because of the combination of all Jo's abilities already mentioned - vocal talent, comedy and movement, but it was put over with such verve and had a great exit - what more could one ask?

I also enjoyed her work with Tom, Dick and Harry, and comment this quartet for another excellent number.

Lucention/Bill really suited Juan Miralles' style of acting. His interaction with Bianca was just right and he complemented Lois' comedy style perfectly, particularly in Why Can't You Behave.

To be cast as one of the gangsters in this show is often a prime ambition amongst gentlemen amateurs. They get some of the best lines, an opportunity for both verbal and visual comedy and they one of the show's best known songs. Norman Grinsteed and Shane Hervey made a splendid pair of hoods, whether in spats or dresses. Making the most of comic opportunity, they used some wonderful body language as 'ladies of the chorus'. I particularly enjoyed the voice Shane adopted which added another dimension to his character. Having looked forward to Brush Up Your Shakespear all evening. I was not disappointed. It is a gem of a number.

Alongside the principals in this production WODS were fortunate to have real ability in the smaller roles. Pam Akhurst and Peter Thomas brought their considerable vocal talents to bear in Another Op'nin and It's Too Darn Hot, Iain Fulton epitomised the stage manager and Steve Leitch and Kim Hill looked good in tights and pressed their suits with alacrity.

I enjoyed seeing the courteous front of house host who always makes me so welcome on my visits to WODS, Brian Lay, doing such a good job on stage this time as Pop the Doorman. Also in a small part, but well studied, Dave Beavis got to good grips with Harrison Howell's accent and made his own mark on the show.

Choreographer Christine Morris had a very good team of dancers to interpret her work - good movers all, and after the slow, straight line start to Too Darn Hot, both choreographer and dancers really showed us what they could do.

Jane Martin must have worked incredible hard on the design and creation of the costumes which were first class in both 'shows'. The research added huge authenticity and the Shakespearean gowns were gorgeous.

Another beautifully produced price of work is the programme which was very well designed and presented, making it quite clear who was who, in spite of the doubling up. I really liked the small chorus/dancer photographs - it is good to be able to try and identify individuals this way, and the chorus are so often just a group of names. Having said that, I am not brave enough to name with certainty both the very young ladies who worked so hard in the chorus. I think they were Katie Letich and Sophie Paice but I could be wrong.

With so many musical numbers Richard Hare and his orchestra deserve applause for their tuneful expertise, and the excellent sets and all the myriad work required backstage was equally well orchestrated by joint stage managers Peter Horlock and Tony Meldon.

Thank you very much for my invitation and, once more, many congratulations.